An American engineering company has showcased what could be the most advanced running robot so far.

The four-legged WildCat, funded by defence researcher DARPA, can run at speeds of up to 26 kilometres per hour and could be used by the US military during battle.

While not as fast as its lab-based predecessor, the Cheetah, the WildCat has its own power source and is fully mobile.

Boston Dynamics, which built the robot, say it could be used in emergency rescue, disaster recovery and supporting military operations.

They say its creation is part of a program looking at improving fluidity and flexibility in robots.

DARPA, who funded the WildCat, specialises in military research and "sponsoring revolutionary, high-payoff research bridging the gap between fundamental discoveries and their military use".

The WildCat is part of a whole family of robots built by DARPA, which includes the human-like Atlas, a walking metal man with radar vision, and Big Dog - a pack mule-like creation that can carry up to 180 kilograms over all types of terrain.

The WildCat is still in its early stages, with hopes of eventually producing a four-legged robot that can run at speeds of up to 80kph on all types of terrain.

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